with Detroit Eighth-place in Mopar Viper Comp. Coupe
Team Mopar Driver Earns Hard Charger, Holeshot Awards in SPEED GT Belle Isle Feature
Cindi Lux (Aloha, Ore.) got the Motor City's motor running on all ten cylinders today with an inspired race in front of the "Viper Nation". Starting from 13th on the narrow, concrete wall-lined, street course laid out on Belle Isle, Lux launched into a full-out attack to move the No. 2 Team Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe towards the front of the field. In a dramatic battle of nose-to-tail Viper Comp. Coupes, the 12-time road racing champion took the checkered flag in eighth-position, Lux's third top-10 of the season. The second-year GT Series driver also walked-off Belle Isle with two of the most prestigious performance awards given to a World Challenge driver: the Racing Electronics Holeshot Award and the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
While not her highest finishing race of the season - that came at Salt Lake City where she took fifth - Detroit was, arguably, Lux's best race of the 2008 World Challenge season. With limited track time for practice, attention to every detail was critical. The entire team worked diligently to maximize the performance of the front-engine, V10-powered, Mopar factory entry around the 2.096-mile, 14-turn course. When the unique standing start came on Sunday, the 2000 American Le Mans Series' Women's Global GT Series knew she only had 50-minutes to make as much ground as possible. Lux used the low-end grunt of the Mopar-powered Viper Comp. Coupe to explode from the start. The launch placed her in a hair-raising, three-wide battle into the one groove, right-hand first turn. Exiting turn- two, Lux would hold the line and take two positions. The racing was tight from the start. Even the custom Mopar liquid metal livery took a beating for the cause as several black tire rubs were evident along side the flanks of the front-engine machine. Lux overtook four cars on the opening lap.
The start, which Lux considers one of the best of her career, was recognized by Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Racing officials as the most impressive of the day. The four positions gained on the first lap of the race earned Lux the Racing Electronics Holeshot Award. Those four cars were also the most any driver passed during the race earning Lux the Sunoco Hard Charger Award. It was the first time in her SPEED GT career that Lux was given the Hard Charger Award for most positions gained in an event.
Making the race even more special was that it was waged before an audience of the most ardent Dodge Viper fans in the world. Dodge Viper aficionados from all over the world were in Detroit for the Tenth Anniversary of the Viper Owners Invitational (VOI.10). Lux was involved in several aspects of VOI.10 as a speaker and special guest. The favor was returned by the groups near unanimous cheering for the only road racing member of Team Mopar lap-after-lap. The energy of the support was palatable and drove Lux forward as she gained position after position in front of the world's largest gathering of Dodge Viper owners.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. Today, Chrysler LLC's Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler Engineering standards.
The Detroit round of the GT championship can be seen on SPEED Channel at Noon (ET), September 12.
QuotesCindi Lux: "Racing in the Motor City was probably the coolest race I have done in a very long time. It was amazing to have all the Viper and Mopar fans out there. You could feel them pushing you forward every lap. On the first pace lap of the race, they had a special chalet area and I could hear them screaming and cheering over the loud sound of all the race motors! It was just crazy. Our Mopar car was very good today on track. This race is truly a shot in the arm for us and we needed another Top-10 finish to turn things around. I feel good things are ahead for us the last two races of the year. I wish I could pack all the Mopar and Viper owners into the truck with us when we leave here. That energy is great!"
Mike Stephens, Program Manager, Mopar Motorsports: "I am so proud of Cindi and the NayKid Racing team. After a bit of adversity at Mosport last weekend the team got the car prepared to race in front of not only Mopar's hometown crowd but also around 1,000 passionate Viper owners who were in Detroit for VOI X. On a very tight course that favors smaller, lighter cars than the Viper Competition Coupe, Cindi's top-ten finish is a testament to her driving ability. The fact that she added both the Holeshot Award and the Hard Charger Award is proof that we have a great driver and team representing Mopar and its Viper Competition Coupe in the Speed World Challenge GT Series."